Hawks' Gordie McLeod and James Spenceley in perfect partnership

Wollongong Hawks' new owner James Spenceley. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Wollongong Hawks' new owner James Spenceley. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod isn't one to make rushed judgments, but it didn't take him long to be sold on new Hawks owner James Spenceley.

Despite a 20-year age gap and their very different day jobs, McLeod and Spenceley immediately warmed to each other, striking common ground with their views on work ethic and other basic principles for success.

McLeod flew out of Sydney on Thursday for a week-long "scouting" mission in the USA, knowing Spenceley's arrival had given the Hawks a much stronger financial foothold than they had six months ago.

But while he is excited about the club's future, McLeod insists the onus isn't on Spenceley to be the club's primary financial pillar.

"We've got to where we are today through a combination of volunteers, members, sponsors, the community, but we'll always need people taking up memberships, buying season tickets and sponsors getting on board," the 2013-14 NBL Coach of the Year said.

"We need the synergy of all those things working together. It's not one person, it's the sum of everything. That's the culture, and that's the great thing about James's passion and the way he sees things.

"Your club only gets better by what each individual puts into it.

"The board has worked unbelievably in the last five years, and especially in the last two, to keep this thing going, because they believed in it so much.

"We've hung on, and now we get the chance to take our club to another level."

The Hawks have four players under contract for the 2014-15 season and hope to announce more signings next week.

Spenceley has indicated that the club would spend up to the NBL's million-dollar salary cap.

"James is coming in with a different view of how he can take it to another level," McLeod said.

"If we can get more members, more sponsors, along with James there's that chance to step up and spend to the cap.

"But spending money doesn't mean you're going to have success. It's about getting the right people to come into the organisation and buy into the culture.

"We have a culture in our club of trying to be the best we can be, every year. Your team must evolve, and in the past we haven't been able to evolve the group because we've worked within a certain structure. The good thing now is that there's a vision for our club where it wants to go."

Wollongong open the new season at home against Townsville on October 10.


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